As much as John Danaher kept things to himself for the past couple of decades, he is now more than making up for it. So far, in less than a year’s time, he managed to record an incredible 6 part DVD instructional series. Each part of his “Enter The System” series revolves around a key move or position that gave birth to a complete system. So far, we got a total of six instructional, the last of which was the “Armbar” set. The fact that Danaher covered all his No-Gi systems in around 60 hours of material means we’re probably set for life. However, much to the joy of the entire BJJ community, Danaher is far from done. His next project is going to be a bit different, though – a John Danaher Gi DVD instructional.
While many might find a Danaher Gi DVD instructional a bit strange, the fact is that he is as accomplished in the Gi as he is without it. The main thing that separates John Danaher from others is how he teaches. Whether it is his mind, his scientific approach or something else, he is an unbelievable teacher. In fact, he is arguably the best Jiu-Jitsu teacher alive today. In those terms, he most definitely deserves the title of Professor. I dare you to watch over a couple of hours of any of his work and come out with at least a fundamental understanding of what Danaher was talking about. It’s not easy, and that was in No-Gi. Expect a lot more details and invisible Jiu-Jitsu in his upcoming Gi instructionals. I guess Danaher decided it is time to change the world of Gi Jiu-Jitsu as well.
John Danaher In The Gi
As a Renzo Gracie black belt, John Danaher is more than experienced in the Gi. His love of No-Gi, and inherently, rashguards, usually paints him as a No-Gi only guy. Yet, the New Zealander is so much more than that.
As a teacher, John came to the forefront thanks to Renzo Gracie’s MMA duties. Back when he was setting Pride alight, Renzo did not have time to fully dedicate to his academy in NYC. Instead, the mantle of the instructor came down to Matt Serra. Since Matt was also an important part of Renzo’s team, and later an MMA fighter himself, this meant he couldn’t get to also teach every class. Their solution was John Danaher. Since he was already on the mats for a better portion of the day, he got the nod to start teaching. This was back when John was a purple belt.
Meticulous as he is, John took his new responsibility very seriously. One might argue that he even took it too seriously. Lucky for us. Since e was never going to compete much with the array of injuries he collected over the years, John dedicated himself to teaching. He approached it with the same passion and dedication that kept him on the mats all day every day. Not surprisingly, his efforts transformed him into one of the most sought after coaches of today.
This also meant that covering the classes in the whole academy made him great at everything. No-Gi classes, Gi classes, fundamental classes, competition preparation, kids classes. You name it, and John has a system for it. Now, it is time to learn the secrets of the Gi via the “Go Further Faster” John Danaher Gi DVD instructional series.
“Go Further Faster” – The Danaher Gi DVD Instructional Series
The unique way in which Danaher approaches Jiu-Jitsu is what makes him different than others. With his No-Gi series, his goal was to make people think differently, rather than just repeat moves. As far as some people are concerned, he was definitely successful. For others, he provided a much-needed source of basic techniques that’ll allow people to understand BJJ later on.
The “Go Further Faster” John Danaher Gi DVD instructional is no different from the ‘Enter The System” series. Technical and conceptual Gi and No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu differences aside, qhat we get are core fundamentals once again. Something similar to this is bound to be at the very foundations of his Gi system, dubbed “Go Further Faster”. In that sense, Danaher is probably going to cover the goals of training in the Gi, the central problems we face and subsequent solutions. However, his very first DVD of the series is all about escapes. His solutions usually come as ideas on how to achieve your goals by solving the central problems.
As far as subjects of his upcoming instructionals go, the first one centers around pin escapes and the turtle position. To be precise, he covers the various ways in which you can get out of the turtle position. His instructional organization remains the same, and once again, Danaher delivers over 10 hours of premium quality video material. Knowing how big Danaher is on systems, we can expect him to touch on just about every fundamental concept of BJJ in the future. Subsequently, during the following year or so, we can expect a lot more pieces of the puzzle. However, Danaher doesn’t reveal the subjects of future DVDs, so we can only guess what he’s about to deliver!
“Go Further Faster – Pin Escapes & Turtle Escapes” DVD Review
The first installment of the “Go Further Faster” John Danaher Gi DVD Instructional series has just been released. We had the option to take a sneak peek just before the official release, so we had enough time to do an in-depth review. Given the rate of release we saw with the “Enter the System” DVD series, we can expect a lot more volumes in teh near future. In fact, Danaher is probably already filming the next segment of his new Gi DVD series. The total number of DVDs that he intends to release, though, remains a mystery.
So far, Danaher has a system for delivering digital information, much like for everything else he does. What we know is that he favors 8 part series, with each volume about an hours length. While some may be slightly shorter, there’s always a volume or two that runs nearer to the 2-hour mark. All in all, around 10 hours of material per DVD set is Danaher’s norm for now. The “Go Further Faster – Pin Escapes 7 turtle Escapes” DVD runs at just above 10 hours.
As far as material and delivery are concerned, Danahar has proven to be extremely versatile. So far, he provided content specifically tailored to the subject he is covering. For example, he included narrated rolls in his Kimura series. The first John Danaher GI DVD Instructional follows a unique pattern as well. You’ll notice that Danaher uses two major principles throughout – knee escapes and elbows escapes. The instructional is organized in sections that address escaping certain positions. Within each segment, the escapes are numbered rather than having distinct names. This makes them really easy to remember and organize. IN fact, let’s go into the DVD play by play:
VOLUME 1 – Essentials Of BJJ Escapes
As with every one of his DVDs that came before, the first Danaher Gi DVD Instructional starts off at the very beginning. If you’re looking for escapes right off the get go you won’t find many. The first volume is all about theory and the philosophy of pin escapes. Dahaner starts by going over most escapes and pointing out areas of interest. He also shares his philosophy of defense in Jiu-Jitsu, which, as always, is mesmerizing.
From a specific standpoint, he begins by dissecting pins. As usual, there’s a system to it all. First up is the goal of pin escapes, then, it is the structure of pins themselves, and finally, modes of getting out. There’s a concept in there that was particularly interesting for me called “minimal escapes”. If you’re a highly technical grappler you’ll appreciate this section very much.
The final third of the first volume goes into the area of a specific movement. As you know, there’s no escaping without precise and deliberate movement. This includes common BJJ drills the likes of bridging, shrimping, hip heisting, spinning, rolling and sitting up. OF course, it wouldn’t be a Danaher DVD if there weren’t directions on how they all tie together to work as an unstoppable escape system.
VOLUME 2 – Escaping Mount
The mount is one of the most difficult positions to escape in general. However, when you’re up against someone that specializes in the mount, it is a whole new world of pain. While there are many techniques and moves for getting out of the mount, most of them usually do not yield effective and complete results. This part of the “Go Further Faster – Pin Escapes & Turtle Escapes” DVD starts with bridges. The famous BJJ “Upa” is at the center of this volume, appearing in about half of the chapters.
As expected, Danaher’s take on bridging is a bit different than what most others know. It is also far more effective and eye-opening. In fact, Danaher’s bridge-based mount escape system has 5 components in total. That makes it aa sub-system, as Danaher likes to call them, which fits within a larger system. And the second part of that large mount escape system are elbow escapes.
Elbow escapes from the mount are my personal preferred way of getting out. In certain cases, they do work great with bridges, though. Danaher is a master of connecting the dots, and he does just that in this volume. However, he covers no less than 7 different elbow escapes against the mount. OF course, there’s a lot of conceptual and theoretical talk with integral key points along the way.
VOLUME 3 – Dealing With Side Control (Elbow Escapes)
While the mount is obviously a difficult position to escape, side control can often time cause a lot more frustration. People that know how to distribute weight and be heavy are impossible to shake off from top side control. Or at least they were before this Danaher Gi DVD instructional came out. However, before we get into those, there are a few more mount escapes taht Danaher couldn’t fit in the previous volume. They are based on a very basic concept – the ankle trap, but from a completely different angle than what we’re all used to. At the very end, there’s a section that covers the dangers of opening the back when escaping mount that’s nothing short of brilliant.
The side control escapes start with elbow escapes. By now, Danaher’s elbow escaping concepts are clear and he doesn’t spend much time going over them again. he does, however, refer to them at all times, so at times, you’ll need to go back to the first DVD and repeat them. That said, after a short introduction, 7 more elbow escapes follow, providing you with the first half of an incredible side control escape system.
VOLUME 4 – Dealing With Side Control (Knee Escapes)
The second part of the side control escape system focuses on using knee escapes rather than elbow escapes. As we know, Danaher likes to make things unfair, i.e. use strong body parts against weaker ones. So far, he made it clear that the legs are our strongest body parts. Now, Danaher introduces them to the escape system, providing more powerful defense options.
The entire fourth volume of this Danaher Gi DVD instructional covers nothing but knee escapes. After the mandatory introduction to the specific movements and technical aspects, Danaher goes into the various way that you can use your knees to frame and make space. there are 10 chapters in total, each covering slightly different ways of using your knees to get out of side control once and for all. This is one of the most technical chapters in this DVD, but also one of the most packed ones when it comes to information.
VOLUME 5 – General Theory Of Framing And Space
After the highly technical knee escape volume, Danaher goes into the realm of theory once again. This time, though, it is framing that gets deconstructed and analyzed. To tell you the truth, I couldn’t wait to get to this part when I first got my hands on the “Go Further Faster – Pin Escapes & Turtle Escapes” DVD. However, since it is a bad idea to jump through John Danaher BJJ instructionals, I had to wait, And it was worth it!
Danaher’s take on what frames are, how you need to use them and how to make them impossible to break is, as always, one of a kind. The general theory of framing and space has three distinct parts that have to work in unison for it to be effective. There are also some frame examples included, in the form of the three most important bottom side control framing configurations.
Finally, there are a further few knee escapes bringing everything together. Once again, the position you’re fighting against is side control. This time though, each of them leads into a different position, all fo them being primed for attack. They include the back, the half and butterfly guards and teh full guard. There’s hardly anyone out there that can make theory and practice work together as well as Danaher can.
VOLUME 6 – How Pin Escapes Work
If volume four was the most technical volume, then this one is the most conceptual one. It covers plenty of different situations, this time centered around specific movement patterns. The opening few chapters are all about the high leg escapes from different pins. The ankle traps we saw in the mount escapes portion feature again as well. This time, though, it’s more from a conceptual standpoint that makes them useful from plenty of different positions.
There are also some new concepts in here that put to use some of the movements we saw in the first volume of the instructional. Shoulder rolls and spinning escapes are examples of those. Danaher has examples of how both work in different situations, including side control and mount. The volume also spends a lot of time analyzing different pins. That analysis includes angles of knee entries and crucial insertion points. There’s also a chapter hidden in there that contains the single most important concept for escaping bottom positions in Jiu-Jitsu.
VOLUME 7 – North-South Solutions
If there’s one position in BJJ everyone hates to get trapped in, it has to be the North-South position. it is not as secure as the mount, or back control, but it is far more annoying than both. Escapes from the position are plentiful, yet not many leads into spots that you can use to actually gain the upper hand.
The system here starts with side pin escapes. There’s a clear distinction between side pins and side control though, Side pins usually open up different positions, liek side control and North-South. Danaher offers escapes from those transitional positions before he touches on the subject of North-South itself. One great example of a side pin is knee on belly, and there’s an equally great concept for rendering the position completely powerless.
The North-South escape system from this volume of the first Danaher GI DVD instructional starts with an overview that’s an introduction to the directions of escape. In case you’re wondering, there are three different directions for escaping the North-South. They all depend on where the opponent’s arms are, and Danaher offers solutions for all of them: the double over, double under and over under.
VOLUME 8 – Getting Out Of Back Control
Finally, the pièce de résistance. The closing volume of the “Go Further Faster – Pin Escapes & Turtle Escapes” John Danaher Gi DVD instructional is all about getting out of back control. having your back taken is close to being beaten as you can get in BJJ without actually having to concede defeat. Well, back control is going to be much less of a problem once you understand Danaher’s philosophy of dealing with it.
This volume has two distinct parts. the first one addresses rear mount escapes and the second covers turtle escapes. The rear mount portion focuses on elbow escapes as teh main concept. While the inner workings of elbow escapes are clear by now, there’s a new component to it here – sliding. It actually makes a lot of sense and works liek a charm! Turtle escapes are more versatile and use two primary concepts – the shoudler roll and the inside leg escape. Which one you use depends solely on whether or not the opponent has a seatbelt grip on or not.
As far as the subject matter of the first installment of the John Danaher Gi DVD Instructional Series goes, blue belts will be happier than anyone. After all, the blue belt is the period when escaping and surviving is the main area of focus. Still, all joking aside, everyone will benefit greatly from this particular DVD. There are concepts and theories in there that even world champion black belts do not know or understand. Once again, Danaher succeeds at delivering a groundbreaking DVD instructional without any flaws!